Real-Life Worship

Worship leaders often feel the pressure to be perfect and holy and put-together at all times–at least on the outside. But keeping up a good front actually works against leadership effectiveness and good worship. Instead, worship leaders have to allow themselves to be “slammed by life,” as one of my students put it. The spiritual life does not always lead us through green pastures and beside still waters. There are valleys of shadows too. Worship leaders have to be open to life—to our own and others’ pain, to events in the world, to people who are especially difficult to deal with, to disappointment and frustration. If preachers and prayers and musicians can show others how to bring those shadows to God through worship, they will demonstrate an authenticity that we all can emulate. Being open to life enables leaders to fill out “empty” technique with solid content, the genuine stuff of real life.

—Ron & Debra Rienstra, Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful Ministry, 98

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